Brand reputations matter in a post-CV world

The world of freelance working and contracting is getting smaller. Proof? This article comes to you from Benalmadena in Spain, beamed up into and down from the cloud and onto your device.

But it’s not only the way we’re working to fulfil existing assignments that’s changing. The way clients and recruiters research social media for relevant independent professionals is changing, too.

For a long time, LinkedIn has been the go-to source for building business relationships. But Facebook is having a bash at using their platform for work. Google+, still struggling to make inroads in the UK, was the medium through which we connected our ‘social layer’ across Google products.

Yes, the platform has changed since Google split its products across the Alphabet umbrella. But anyone ignoring the power of their profile showing up in Google Search is risking their reputation, their brand.

Twitter, too, has renewed Google’s access to its firehose. What does this mean? That your relevant tweets have the potential to show up in search results for potential employers.

How relevant are you online?

You’ll notice that the word ‘relevant’ keeps cropping up. It’s important. Google Search is getting clever. So clever, in fact, that soon almost everyone’s search results will be different, tailored to our own search history, what we’ve shared online and with whom we’ve interacted across social media.

The latest Adecco Work Trends report touches the surface of this new relevance. It cites LinkedIn as still the undisputed champion of professional connection. Yet, it also acknowledges the rise in prominence of Facebook for defining our personal brand. Yet what the report misses is how Google pulls all of this information together to prospective employers and contractors alike.

It’s no surprise. Google’s ‘social layer’ has gone largely ignored in the UK. But let’s look a little deeper at the highlights the Adecco website shows.

On top of the social media aspect, the Work Trends Report suggests that potential employers, agencies and prospects:

“spend most of their time with job boards and corporate websites”

What’s that got to do with Google and Search?

First and foremost, it’s a good chance that recruiters and employers have landed on those websites because of their search history. The more time you spend searching for job boards and corporate websites in your niche, the more likely Google is to show you websites of this ilk based on certain ‘search terms’ or ‘keywords’.

Think this is an invasion of your privacy? Well, how do you think Siri or Cortana work, learning your past to deliver your future almost intuitively. Apple, Microsoft, Bing, Yahoo! – they’re all at it. But it’s not a bad thing (unless you don’t recognise that it’s happening!).

Secondly, it’s not just employers, recruitment agencies or your desktop PC or laptop browser gathering this information about you. Almost every app – especially free ones – are feeding ‘big data’ back into the system to help their service serve you better.

You ARE your brand, so don’t forget it

The Adecco work trends report is well worth a browse to see how recruiters and potential employees are using technology to advance their businesses and careers. But when it comes to brand management, you have to realise: it starts with you.

You are responsible for what you post online. Make sure it speaks highly of you, your brand and what you stand for. It’s even more important for contractors who want to prove they are a company, not a disguised employee.

Don’t be surprised if you fall at the final fence if a potential client stumbles across an update you’ve posted that does your brand a disservice.

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